NSA's SKYNET Program May Be Killing Innocents, and Tested in MMOs

lionsprey

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Fucking hell. America you need to get your shit together i thought the fact that trump had serious supporters was going to be the dumbest thing you came up with this year but this is so dumb i honestly thought i was still asleep and dreaming or that the OP managed to get a news article from Taco. jesus, people are worried about Russia but at least when they kill people they do it on purpose. the US are going to wipe out the human race by accident
 

Nimcha

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Is there any proof whatsoever anyone actually got killed just because they were flagged with this system, which they're obviously testing? Of course not, but why not make a news article anyway. Nobody cares.
 

Gordon_4_v1legacy

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Ldude893 said:
So basically, it's Project Insight from Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the name of the big-bad from Terminator slapped on. And people in the American government thought this was a good idea.
I'd argue that Project Insight and Hydra at least had clearer goals and better refined targeting algorithms. Plus those Helicarriers, man those are sweet.
 

Arnoxthe1

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Dec 25, 2010
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I think that SKYNET is almost everything wrong with the US government summed up tidily into one neat package. Incompetency, greed, and wastes of money on violations of privacy, with the sickening waste of at least hundreds of innocent lives.
 

cikame

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It's important to note that nothing has been proved here, just doubts and rumor with zero evidence.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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The entirety of modern US government is designed to appeal to psychopaths. Literally. So when you have that kind of system you're going to attract psychopaths and the worst ones are going to be in high places of power. This is the result of a psychopathic system.
 

Bob_McMillan

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Wow...

No really, wow.

Just as with the Apple and FBI thing, I cannot believe this is real.

Kudos to the Escapist for this article, and major, major shame on the NSA if this is all accurate.

We have a billion and one sci-fi movies, books, and games about drones being bad for a reason.
 

Cowabungaa

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rcs619 said:
Don't worry. The Obama administration actually classifies all "military-aged males within a combat zone" as potential 'enemy-combatants.' The official government stats will claim many fewer civilian deaths.
And with the nature of drone warfare, basically the whole world can be classified as a combat zone. The traditional battlefield doesn't exist any more.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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The US is way too far beyond a parody now. This apparent "joke" name seems more like a callous, self-fulfilling prophecy. Why won't somebody take these bloody dangerous toys off them before people get h...errm probably too late for that now. At least they can't lay a specific country's definition of rape charges on anyone's door this time in a suspiciously focused, one-off attempt at appearing to fight for justice. No wonder aliens won't visit, our alleged moral police are the worst hypocrites of the lot. We need an intervention, because the US aren't going to admit to any wrongdoing now, are they?
 

rcs619

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Bat Vader said:
I feel like them naming it Skynet was meant to be a joke and I feel like people are taking the name more seriously than it needs to be.

There's no way they named it Skynet by accident. That's what makes it funny.
It's an algorithm designed to help *automate* the process of assassinating other human beings via flying death-robots and/or killsquads on the ground. It doesn't actually look for hard evidence if someone is actually a terrorist, merely that they kindasorta meet some broad criteria. Then they gave it an obviously jokey name on top of it all. Of course it was a joke, it was just in horrendously bad taste.

Nimcha said:
Is there any proof whatsoever anyone actually got killed just because they were flagged with this system, which they're obviously testing? Of course not, but why not make a news article anyway. Nobody cares.
The issue is that they were trying to automate the signature strike program. Something which already seems to be an abject failure.

Basically the US drone program has two kinds of assassination methods. There are "Personality Strikes" where they know specifically who they are killing. This guy is a known Al Qaeda lieutenant. He's a known terrorist. We know he has done this and now we are going to kill him. I think that is generally okay, and I think most people will agree.

They also do what is known as "Signature Strikes" though. In a signature strike, we actually have no idea who we're killing, we just think that they were doing something kind of suspicious. Maybe it was a group of people with guns out on the border of Pakistan/Afghanistan. Maybe it was someone digging around in the dirt for some reason or another. So we lob a hellfire missile at them just to be sure. Unilaterally. Without actually knowing who they are. The issue is that, a lot of people in afghanistan and pakistan own guns. At a lot of weddings out there, they bring their guns and fire them into the air. So sometimes we lob an anti-tank missile into the middle of a wedding. Sometimes that afghan digging around in the dirt isn't planting an IED, or hiding something. Sometimes it's an old lady who is digging up her garden. We have no way to know, since we just splattered them into a billion pieces.

It's also common practice to do what is known as a "double-tap" with our drones. Basically, you lob a missile at your target, then you wait for a little bit. You wait until people come in to try and help the wounded, or recover the bodies, and then you launch a second missile at those people to kill them too. If you're doing this inside of a known terrorist compound, that's one thing, but this happens inside of towns and cities too, and a lot of the time all we're just killing first-responders and/or decent human beings. Double-taps are meant to send a message. Don't go and help those people bleeding out and screaming in pain from their burns and shrapnel wounds. You let them lay there and die, or you're going to get killed too.

Fun-fact, the double-tap is actually a common method employed by Al Qaeda suicide-bombers as well. For similar reasons.

Trying to get hard numbers on civilian deaths is tough though. The Obama administration classifies all "military-aged males within a combat zone" as potential enemy-combatants. Some of the estimates I've seen though... they don't look good for us. And who do you think these people blame for their family and friends getting splattered by a supersonic missile from the heavens? Do they blame Al Qaeda? Nope, they blame the people who pulled the trigger. They did a study, and it turns out that most Afghans have never even heard of 9/11. They don't know why we're there. All they know is that sometimes we kill people they care about. How do you think the pakistanis we kill feel about it? We aren't even at war with them.
 

Czann

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What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.
 

Parasondox

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And apparently, Russia, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, China are the dangerous ones? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight? And I'm the Pope.
 

kimiyoribaka

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PatrickJS said:
the program's chance for false positives is frighteningly high, and may have lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people under the assumption they had extremist connections.
I searched through the source linked in this article, as well as through the sources linked in that article and the links in the comments to it. I can't find anything to support this assessment. It's very clear from the slides given that the leaked documents were from a presentation on the research being done to find which algorithm best prunes the pool of people to investigate for terrorist leads. On top of that, the slides are from 2012, and the total death toll in the history of the drone program doesn't reach 5000. That's counting from back in 2004.

Also, isn't it a bit much to be assuming the tone of a presentation based on what appear to be just the power-point slides? The leaked documents don't include what the presenter actually said. Given that the final slide (from the original source) acknowledges major problems with the system, wouldn't it make just as much sense to assume the slide showing the al jazeera journalist was intended to show where the system needed work, especially given the three clearly contradictory statements it gives?
 

Parasondox

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Czann said:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.
Annnnnnd that makes the US Government any better? Okay this is a Religion & Politics discussion but innocent people could be targeted. I know the talk of violence and war is the norm in this day and age and civilians to a soldiers death is often used by the media to create a twisted result for different motives, is often brought up and then forgotten but where and when the hell will the bloodshed end? When will we, as fucking humans, decide not every day argument needs blood to prove a point.

I dunno. Maybe I am stupid and crazy.

9/11. That day and event in history changed everything.
 

Leg End

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Czann said:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.
We could just nuke ISIS hotspots and be done with it.

Terrorism does not justify murder, on any side. Fighting turrists by murdering anyone you can't even say might be a suspect of being a friend of a friend of a friend of someone who might be a turrist, doesn't exactly make the problem better. I can fight crime in LA by murdering everyone who associates with suspected gang members and so on ad nauseam, but that doesn't mean I'm actually doing anything other than murdering people and making an enemy of everyone.
 

Creator002

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Christ Almighty. Thank God I live in Australia. If I were in the middle east, my cousin and I would be targets just from how much we talk about terrorism in general.
 

CrazyGirl17

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Sep 11, 2009
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Okay, its bad enough that the NSA's shady dealings are making us look back, why did they have to pick SKYNET as a name for their drones? Seriously? Did no one realize how bad an idea that was?
 

rcs619

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Creator002 said:
Christ Almighty. Thank God I live in Australia. If I were in the middle east, my cousin and I would be targets just from how much we talk about terrorism in general.
If this sort of thing happened in the US (an 'allied' superpower being 'allowed' to operate armed drones in our airspace) do you know how many false positives there'd be? There are lots of people who like to go hunting in the US, or even just go out into the woods with a group of their friends to do some shooting and hang out. Those are exactly the kind of things (military-aged men out and about with guns) that US drone operators look for when they do signature strikes.

I'd argue that someone in Afghanistan (or rural Pakistan) needs to own a gun far more than anyone in America. ...Because they live in goddamned Afghanistan (or rural Pakistan).